Daydream Believer

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NEW LABOUR, that he helped establish, is “now over, and died on 6 May 2010” Lord Mandelson recently declared ahead of the publication later this summer of his memoirs: The Third Man: Life at the Heart of New Labour. This is set to be the first published account by one of the three main architects of New Labour and is said to focus on the turbulent Blair-Brown relationship that should “ruffle some feathers.”

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Of course, what Peter Mandelson really meant is: “we’ve been rumbled – time to rebrand our awful product again.” But what’s next for the five Labour leadership candidates: New, New Labour, Newer Labour, Really New Labour, New Improved Labour, Next Labour? Answers on a postcard please.

Basically, New Labour is dead because the ‘experiment’ failed. We do not now have a strong economy, social justice or high quality public services. Yet, while claiming to be a key figure in the design of New Labour, there seems to be no acceptance of responsibility or even a hint of apology from Peter Mandelson for the mess that’s been left behind. He should, at the very least, express some regret to the younger generation who will bear the brunt of the consequences of his experiment. Years of debt repayment, unemployment, poor education, over-regulated business and reduced personal freedoms. Worst of all, though, is the pervading sense all of us have had of being caged in by bureaucracy. Whatever we did, the nanny state seemed to have a hand in it somewhere. We’ve been here before. Please let’s never go there again.

But, to return to Peter Mandelson, he’s a typical politician. When the party’s over, there’s the book, the after-dinner speeches, then the inevitable company directorship. The betting here is on the recording industry (Digital Britain was always going to be a nice little earner). Expenses scandal blowing over but there will always be new ways to milk the system.


So yet another Labour peer making more money from selling his “version” of history to a bored world. And, in the same way that people buy the autobiography of an illiterate 24-year-old footballer and believe it, I suppose people will carry on buying books by politicians about other politicians and believe them too.

In fact, on reflection, perhaps it should be re-titled: NuLabour – A Disastrous and Costly Mistake for You Lot but One That Made Me Millions and a Lord! And to paraphrase a book review by Dorothy Parker, the noted American satirist, “This won’t be a book to toss aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”


Nora Johnson´s novel, The De Clerambault Code (www.nora-johnson.com) at Amazon. Profits to Cudeca

Photo Credit: World Economic Forum



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